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Badgers honor Jeff Sauer with 6-3 victory over Michigan State

Wisconsin may have had a heavy heart as they took the ice on Friday night against Michigan State. However, they channeled that energy in to dumping the host Spartans 6-3 in the series opener. 

It was good news for a Badgers program that came in riding high on a three-game win streak. Those came against the top of the league, and some worried about a letdown against a Michigan State program that came in with just five wins on the season.

Any chance of the Badgers not taking Michigan State seriously were put to rest early on Friday night. Instead, Wisconsin put on one of its most efficient offensive performances of the season, putting 6 goals in off of just 18 shots.

Following a few minutes of feeling each other out on the ice, Wisconsin’s offense started to pepper in to the offensive zone. That early work paid off as Trent Frederic put the Badgers on the scoreboard first.

He took a puck at the top of the zone and rifled one past Minney for the 1-0 lead. It was his eighth goal of the season.

Wisconsin wasn’t done pouring on the offensive firepower though and naturally it had to be Luke Kunin getting in on the scoring. Just over three minutes later Kunin duped Minney and slotted home an easy pass in to the back of the net for his 16th of the season.

The scoring wasn’t done though, as Will Johnson made Michigan State pay for a bad penalty with just over five minutes left to go in the first period.

After a rushing Tim Davison was kneed by Taro Hirose at the 13:47 mark, it was 5-on-4 hockey and a 5 minute major penalty with Hirose sent to the showers. Johnson netted the third goal of the night for Wisconsin at the 15:05 mark of the period.

MSU had seen enough in goal and made a switch from Minney to John Lethemon. It didn’t matter much though, as the Badgers continued the offensive onslaught.

Wisconsin poured in some more salt to the wound as the streaking Aidan Cavallini netted his third goal of the season for a 4-0 advantage.

Michigan State attempted to mount some sort of life offensively after that and got one back courtesy of a Patrick Khodorenko goal at the 7:11 mark of the second period.

It didn’t matter much though, as Wisconsin got back to a four-goal advantage on a great team effort just three minutes later.

It was Wagner’s sixth goal of the season and made it the familiar 5-1 scoreline between these two teams this season.

However, Michigan State didn’t quite and it showed as the third period rolled on. Instead of just getting through the night, the Spartans decided to catch Wisconsin resting on a four-goal lead.

Just about halfway through the final period, Khodorenko added his second goal of the night and just three minutes later things were really a game courtesy of a Sam Saliba goal at the 12:44 mark of the final period.

That didn’t damper a good night between the pipes for freshman Jack Berry, who continues to start the front-end of series’ this season. He stopped 20 of 23 shots from the Spartans and really couldn’t be faulted for any of the goals scored.

Granato and the coaching staff were none too happy to see a good cushion become a tight game late in this one. Luckily the guys regrouped and kept the Spartans out of the net for the rest of the night.

Trent Frederic then guided one home with an empty net in front of him for a 6-3 scoreline with just 12.4 seconds to play.

The win gives Wisconsin 21 points and a 7-2-0 record in Big Ten play, meaning they stay on top of the league standings.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball


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